Friday, November 4, 2016

King Phillip Bullies Marshfield in D2A South Semis

The score may not have shown it, but King Phillip dominated Marshfield physically Friday night.
By Jason Siegel

WRENTHAM, Mass.- The King Philip Warriors used a punishing ground game and a dominant defense to defeat the Marshfield Rams 14-7 on Friday night. With the win, the Warriors advance to the Division 1A South sectional final.

The Warriors (9-0) will play the winner of the Bridgewater-Raynham/Wellesley game, which is being played on Saturday at 2:00 PM.

Both offenses started off slowly, and both teams were forced to punt on their first possessions.

King Philip received a boost from their special teams late in the first period. Junior running back Shane Frommer returned a Marshfield (7-2) punt to the Ram 29-yard line.

Runs up the middle by Frommer and senior Alex Olsen set up KP with 1st-and-goal from the Marshfield 5-yard line. Two plays later, Brendan Lydon scored on a QB sneak up the middle, with some help from his offensive line. Michael Conti’s extra point gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 2:11 remaining in the first quarter.

Both defenses reasserted their dominance in the second quarter. With King Philip moving methodically down the field, junior Brody Reynolds knocked Warrior captain John Deluca III to the turf for a ten-yard loss, forcing a KP punt.

Senior Chris O’Neil made a big play on the other side, intercepting a pass from Marshfield quarterback Jackson Phinney as the first half came to a close.

Even though the game featured two teams that had scored at least 41 points in their most recent contest, this showdown was headlined by the defenses. The Warriors found a way to considerably slow down the well-oiled Marshfield machine that had scored at least 40 points in their previous five games.

King Philip head coach Brian Lee was very happy with the way his defense played.

“We played good defense," Lee said. "We work at it a lot, and we had a good game plan."

The Warrior defense continued to contain the Rams, who looked to spread the field with runs to the outside, as well as passes from Phinney to the sideline and over the middle.

The defensive front put Phinney under pressure and came up with interceptions in key situations.

Down 14-0, Marshfield’s offense began to click in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Marcus Friedel picked up 35 yards on a run to the left side.

Phinney found Friedel over the middle on fourth-and-5 to keep the drive alive. The drive culminated with a 2-yard run by Phinney. Gavin Admirand’s extra point cut the KP lead in half with 7:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Marshfield maintained the momentum when they successfully converted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Sophomore Matt Donovan picked up the pigskin for the Rams.

The Rams could not keep their offense rolling, however, when senior Ethan Dunne intercepted Phinney with 6:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Marshfield was not done yet, though. Phinney found senior captain Mike Catanoso over the middle to set the Rams up at the the King Philip 25-yard line with 26 seconds left.

But KP senior Bill Crowley intercepted Phinney as time expired, sealing the win for the Warriors.

Along with their defensive front, King Philip’s offensive front was key to KP’s victory. While the Rams looked to spread the field, the Warriors ran the ball between the hashmarks for the majority of the game.

Leading 7-0, King Philip put together a clock-consuming drive in the third quarter. Starting at their own 33-yard line, running backs Frommer, Olsen, and Giovanni Fernandez ran up the middle repeatedly behind KP’s offensive line. The drive culminated with Olsen punching it in from inside the 1-yard line on fourth-and-goal with 9:17 remaining in the fourth period.

Coach Lee was very pleased with the play of his offensive line.

“I’m very proud of (the offensive line)," Lee said. "We ate a lot of clock up, which helps slow down (Marshfield’s) offense."

Lee also said that every aspect of the Warriors’ game can be improved upon as they prepare for the Division 1A South sectional final next week.

Overall, King Philip looked like a team that is very powerful up front. They are content to take their time on offense, which can limit their opponent’s time of possession and prevent the other team from finding a rhythm on offense.

If King Philip is matched up against Wellesley, it will be interesting to see how KP’s offensive line matches up with the Raiders’ defensive line. Both teams are strong up front. Wellesley has only allowed 77 points in 9 games this season, and has pitched three shutouts. Expect a nailbiter if KP faces Wellesley.

If the Warriors face Bridgewater-Raynham, the game could be similar to the King Philip-Marshfield game. Like Marshfield, Bridgewater-Raynham has an explosive offense, led by senior running back Shawn Noel Jr. The Trojans also like to spread the field and put the pigskin in the hands of their athletic running backs and wide receivers. King Philip will likely try to keep B-R’s offense off the field and try to put long drives together on offense.

Bridgewater-Raynham is battle-tested and has played some of the top teams in the state, such as Xaverian and St. John’s Prep. At 9-0, KP has been invincible up to this point, but the Trojans are not a team that will be intimidated by an undefeated team.

Whoever King Philip faces, the Warriors' success will be dependent on the play of their defense and offensive line.

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